Safe Driving: Teens struggle to keep premiums down

Some have said that teenagers are the worst drivers on the road, but it is a fact that millions of them get into accidents because of bad driving habits.

Whether speeding, talking on the cell phone, ignoring traffic signals, zoning into the radio, or driving while intoxicated, many teenagers have certainly earned a reputation for being bad drivers.

Despite this, some Florida A&M University students have stressed better driving on the road. Sharee Thomas, a Tallahassee native, is one such student. Thomas, an economics student, said she has made a few mistakes on the road but ultimately feels she is a safe driver.

“I try to pay attention when driving,” said Thomas, 20. “I haven’t gotten into any wrecks but I am known for speeding. I consider myself to be a good driver but I guess I can slow down.”

According to statistics, most fatal injuries are primarily by teenagers in collision ages 16 to 19 years old.

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers across the United States, and is the highest traffic violation rate of any other age group.

Insurance rates are usually higher for teenagers. The higher the risk means the higher the cost of insurance premiums.  Studies done by the U.S. Census Bureau found that fatal crash rates for teens in rural areas were double those of teen drivers in cities. Rural areas had 57.5 fatal crashes per 100,000 teens compared with 25.4 in metropolitan areas. A driver’s rate is usually based on the area, gender, car, age, and level of coverage. If an individual can drive without getting into any incidents on the road, than over time insurance rate will lower.                

Safe drivers wear safety belts and April Baucham, 19, a freshman pre-med biology student, said she wears hers whenever she is driving.

“Besides it being safe, it keeps me from being ejected from my car,” said Baucham, a Tallahassee resident. “I think more students should wear their safety belts because there is a lot of drunk driving going on.”

Because teenagers have such a bad reputation on the road, some individuals have considered increasing the age limit for teenagers to receive their driver’s license. However, Shenita White, 23, said the change would not stop young people from driving.

“Increasing the age limit could possibly be safer but teenagers will probably still continue to drive anyway,” said White, a FAMU alumna from Chipley. “At 18, people are supposed to be more responsible, but it also creates more strain on the parent because at 16, students want to do more things. There are just a lot of things to consider.”

For inexperienced drivers, there are a number of programs to improve behavior and habits on the road. It is a fact that good driving habits make for better premiums and drivers should take that into consideration when sitting behind the wheel of a car.